The EU energy commissioner, Loyola de Palacio, says she will put forward concrete plans to devise a 'common methodology' for assessing and implementing nuclear safety standards in all EU member countries.
In a speech to the industry committee of the European Parliament, she said that the time had come for common Europe-wide nuclear standards to be developed, particularly in the light of the coming expansion of the EU from 15 to 27 member states.
She said the energy and transport directorate-general, which was currently finalising its Annual Political Strategy (APS) for 2003 in consultation with the relevant EP committees, had three over-riding policy priorities: • Enlargement. To ensure the transposition into the domestic legislation of EU accession states of the body of existing EU legislation and standards, and to ensure further progress towards the interconnection of European electricity transmission systems.
• Sustainable development. On the energy front, to ensure the further development of clean energy sources, combined with moves to manage energy demand more efficiently.
• Single market. To accelerate implementation of the EU's 'Lisbon strategy', in particular with regard to the consolidation and liberalisation of the internal market for energy and transport.
On the issue of nuclear safety standards, she said: "I will not attempt to conceal the fact that this is an issue that preoccupies me greatly. In the enlarged Europe that we are currently constructing, we cannot ignore the risks that could result from inaction in this area on the part of the EU. Public opinion would never forgive us for doing so."